Novell BrainShare 2010 Amsterdam: Enhanced Workload Management & Space-Cake

After a five-year absence, Novell is staging its BrainShare EMEA conference in Amsterdam starting today. This week's 103 technical sessions were completely sold out in terms of attendance and by the look of things most attendees made it to the keynote this morning despite Amsterdam's other enticing attractions.

After a five-year absence, Novell is staging its BrainShare EMEA conference in Amsterdam starting today. This week's 103 technical sessions were completely sold out in terms of attendance and by the look of things most attendees made it to the keynote this morning despite Amsterdam's other enticing attractions.

Javier Colado, president and general manager EMEA stressed not only Spain's ability to win the World Cup this summer, but also Novell's position on Intelligent Workload Management. He may have been talking to an audience of largely developers, but he was keen to deliver a message set more attuned to the concerns of IT managers by talking about, 'a pragmatic and holistic approach to managing IT resources'.

The big announcement this week is Novell Identity Manager 4 a product that manages identities across physical, virtual and cloud. Also, the SUSE Enterprise Linux Service Pack 1 open source high availability clustering solution will be available from June 2 this year.

Enhanced for your pleasure…

The message is that Novell Identity Manager 4 is 'enhanced' OK? Enhanced reporting in an out-of-the-box kind of way, enhanced integration with existing apps, enhanced workflow design process tools with no coding required (unless you want to) and cloud ready drivers with an enhanced dashboard too.

What's a keynote without a customer reference eh? Well, we were treated to Mr Manfred (sorry I missed his surname) from BMW IT group. He presented for around half and hour on open source virtualisation and SUSE Linux Enterprise Sever. He might have been a bit 'German' in his delivery, but fair play to Novell for turning the stage over to a customer so early on.

So what is enhanced reporting in the context of Intelligent Workload Management and how does Novell position this proposition in tandem with its ZENworks Configuration Management 10 systems management product and Novell Identity Manager 4?

If a slow serious German presentation could be juxtaposed any more dramatically I've never seen it. Queue the enthusiastic American Jay Roxe (pronounced J-Rocks!) from Novell's security's division. Now Jay was born to present and tag-teamed with his co-presenter to do that whole, "Hey, so that's a really cool tool, does that mean I get more control throughout my systems resources map?" Bless him, I prefer it really I suppose.

Line of business managers get intuitive tools here to get quick views of the company's workflow analysis monitors. Apologies for the lack of plain English, but that's enhanced reporting essentially.

According to Novell's Grant Ho, ZENworks is going to capitalise upon one of the hottest industry trends in IT right now, Windows 7. Sorry but that just sounded funny. On a serious level, we got some good live (some went wrong) hands on ZENworks demos that were really very hands on.

There's also a new web conferencing tool from Novell announced this week, I'll dig down for some more details later.

There's another couple of days of this and I am quite honestly delighted to be here. I'm delighted for open source, I'm delighted we're seeing new tech conferences in Europe and I'm delighted that Novell is being vocal. We have a nice mix of pan-European journalists and I also have an interview with the EMEA chief later on so I can set him straight on England's World Cup plans.

Sceptics may suggest that Novell is simply refining its total offering until it finally gets bought, but the company was founded in 1983 in Waltham Massachusetts and I make that over a quarter of a century of independence – and Novell says it has double the certifications (5000 in total) of Red Hat for its Enterprise server product. What I do like it is the practical keynote with over 10 presenters featuring geeks, suits, VPs and female managers too. It's democratic and refreshing.

Oh, by the way, there's no space-cake, I just wanted to put that in my headline.

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